Hale Johnson


Hale Johnson was born in New Jersey in 1937. In 1966 he moved to Colrain, MA where he has maintained his studio for 49 years. He attended Lafayette College and graduated from the Newark School of Fine Art. Hale has exhibited his work in galleries throughout the Northeast and has been honored by more than 60 solo exhibitions.


Hale Johnson is an oil landscapist of four decades and is established as a great American Realist painter akin to Andrew Wyeth and Eric Sloan. He is most noted for his stark yet emotive landscapes of iconic New England. Using oil against a medium grey ground which is applied to canvas or panel surface, Hale's large works are completed from on site studies. From his rural home he intentionally seeks locations that evoke strong response to the history of the land and the people who toil there. Often featuring weathered barns, boats, and well used farm equipment, Hale's paintings represent a quiet restraint and delicate sensitivity to detail. There is a fascination with texture - particularly that of old paint, peeled wood, rugged grasses, and craggy rocks. Each composition balances his tight precision with areas of loose brushed strokes, relieving the eye, providing relational distances, and allowing Hale to control focus. Over the course of nearly five decades his style has evolved, becoming more painterly.


I choose the subjects of my paintings not to create nostalgia for the past or make a historical statement. I love history, but I paint the present. I paint solitute but not loneliness. The distinction is important. There can be joy and serenity in solitude, but neither in loneliness. I want my paintings to give pleasure, not convey any feelings of desolation. I do not intend anything heavy or profound in my work.


Hale Johnson is a member of the American Artists Professional League, the Academic Artist's Association, the Grumbacher Award, the Copley Society, the Berkshire Art Association and the Salmagundi Club.